For those of you who love seeing the world on two wheels, these trails are a must visit. These designated bike trails and shared trails will meander through our lovely state and give you the ultimate biking experience, complete with some history and sightseeing along the way. While they are especially beautiful in the warmer months, these routes are truly breathtaking anytime of the year. We’ve got all the details below, so just remember to pack some water and snacks – and don’t forget your helmet!
1. Virginia Creeper Trail
The Virginia Creeper Trail stretches for 34.3 miles from Abington to Whitetop. The trail is named after the Virginia Creeper steam engine that once followed this same route as well as the plant by the same name that grew along the way. In 1986, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy helped convert this route into a path which could be enjoyed by bikers, hikers and horseback riders. Most begin the trek in Abingdon, where there is a parking lot as well as a display of one of the old locomotives. The trail is relatively level and will meander through fields and wooded areas. Keep on the lookout for unique wildlife, such as grey foxes and cotton tail rabbits.
2. Mount Vernon Trail
The Mount Vernon Trail is 18 miles long and spans the distance between George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Theodore Roosevelt Island. One of the most notable features of this trail is the unobscured views you'll have of the Washington D.C. Skyline. The Mount Vernon Trail connects with other local trails and is only a short walk from Arlington Cemetery. Parking is accessible by any of the sites along the trail except for the Navy-Marine Memorial and Lady Bird Johnson Park.
3. Tobacco Heritage Trail
The Tobacco Heritage Trail meanders through Southern Virginia, connecting the communities of Lawrenceville, Brodnax and La Crosse. 17 miles will take you through picnic areas, wooded forests, and a 300-foot bridge over the Meherrin River. The surface of this trail varies between crushed stone and pavement. The Trail shares a portion of its route with the East Coast Greenway, which spans from Florida to Maine. For parking, you'll want to look for the Evans Creek Trailhead.
4. High Bridge Trail
This 32.4 mile trail features the astounding High Bridge, touring 125 feet over the Appomattox River. Riding over the bridge, you may feel like you're flying as you peer below and see all of the tree tops. An interesting historical tidbit about the bridge is that during the Civil War, it helped strategically with both Confederate and Union soldiers. From downtown Farmville, the trail is only 4.5 miles away. Those looking for a longer ride can start at one of the early access points to experience over 30 miles of lovely farmland and woods.
5. Birdneck Road Trail
The Birdneck Roack Trail is short and sweet at only 2.2 miles. It's part of a series of trails in the Virginia Beach area. The trail is non-motorized use only and will wind through a series of golf courses, tennis courts, and amusement parks. This could be the perfect day trip if you're looking for kid-friendly activities. You'll want to park at Seatack Park which is located on Birdneck Road.
6. Virginia Capital Trail
For 52 glorious miles, the Virginia Capital Trail spans Richmond's Capital building, Jamestown and Williamsburg. The southern portion of the trail, closest to the Jamestown settlement, offers unique views of this historic area. As the trail continues along Route 5, trail-riders can marvel at views of the Chickahominy and James Rivers. There's even a segment that passes by Sherwood Forest, the plantation where President John Tyler once lived. Each section of the trail has its own designated parking area. If you are starting at the southern end, you can park at the Jamestown Trailhead of SR 31.
7. Washington & Old Dominion Railway (W & OD)
This suburban rail-trail is located just outside of Washington D.C, near Leesburg. The W & OD Railway was constructed just before the Civil War in 1858. 100 years later, the trail became disused due to more efficient means of transportation. Thankfully, the Northern Virginia Parks Association and Friends of the W & OD have maintained the trail for recreational use. The route is very well marked and includes informative signs and trail markers along the way. If you're parking at the southern end of the trail, it may be easiest to use the downtown parking garages in Shirlington.
8. Chessie Nature Trail
Lexington's Chessie Nature Trail is a beautiful pathway that follows the markers of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad which used to run there. For the first 3 miles of the 7 mile trail, the route runs along the breathtaking Maury River. Afterwards, the scenery will alternate between wooded areas and farmland. The final mile will pass a very steep cliff that makes for a dramatic and beautiful finale. Be prepared to share this trail with many walkers and hikers, too. From 11 south, you'll want to take State Route 631 which is less than 1 mile from the trailhead.
9. The Heart of Appalachia Bike Route
The Heart of Appalachia Bike Route is the only official bike route in Virginia. This Southwestern Virginia route is made up of 128 miles of trail systems in Bland, Tazewell, Russell and Wise Counties. This route has it all: paved roads, gravel roads, and single-track trips, all featuring some of the most gorgeous mountain views in the state. Burkes Garden (pictured above) is a great place to start. From there, you'll follow roads alongside Jefferson National Forest. You'll want to take the time to plan this trip well, because there are many natural wonders and detours to see along the way.